(Adds details, background, comment on British airport
MADRID Feb 25 Spanish infrastructure group
Ferrovial, the biggest shareholder in Heathrow Airport
Holdings (HAH), beat core profit expectations for 2013 and said
it had the resources to make new investments.
Ferrovial, which has been looking to strengthen its overseas
businesses as it moves away from the crisis-hit Spanish
construction sector, has offered to buy three British airports
from its partners in HAH, a source told Reuters last week.
Chief Executive Inigo Meiras told analysts that he had no
comment on these plans.
"There is not a formal process in place," he said after the
company reported its results on Tuesday.
Ferrovial said its investments in 2013 had outstripped
income from disposals for the first time in five years, and that
its cash position, excluding debt attached to projects, had
grown 12 percent to 1.66 billion euros ($2.3 billion) compared
with the year before.
The group's core profit, or EBITDA - earnings before
interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation - rose 0.8 percent
to 934 million euros in 2013, beating the average forecast of
877 million euros in a Reuters poll of analysts.
Ferrovial said foreign revenue had grown 18 percent in 2013,
and now made up 68 percent of the total. The group's overall
revenue rose 7 percent to 8.17 billion euros.
The group made several overseas acquisitions last year,
including British maintenance and utility firm Enterprise, and a
company specialised in the Chilean mining sector.
Ferrovial's services division - which groups diverse
maintenance contracts, including for gas and water networks as
well as hospital and road cleaning - grew strongly, with revenue
rising 26 percent to 3.6 billion euros.
Revenue from its construction unit fell 6.1 percent to 4
billion euros. Ferrovial's net profit rose 5 percent in 2013 to
727 million euros.
Ferrovial sold a 8.65 percent stake in Heathrow to British
pension fund Universities Superannuation Scheme last year,
taking its HAH holding to 25 percent. The company said it wanted
to remain a key shareholder.
"I can confirm that we are long-term investors in Heathrow,"
Meiras told analysts.
($1 = 0.7282 euros)
(Reporting by Jose Elias Rodriguez and Sarah White; Editing by